Archive for the 'anthropology' Category

you learn something new every day

There’s apparently a whole school of superstitions surrounding the Shakespearean play Macbeth!

you learn something new every day

Ubykh is Northwest Caucasian language which went extinct when its last native speaker died on 7 October 1992. (Click here for a partial list of extinct languages sorted by their time of extinction.)

not just a pretty boy

Since we’ve been keeping two lovebirds (a type of small parrot) for the past few years (since they hatched!), I’ve begun to take greater interest in birds, particularly parrots – which are considered among the smartest birds in the world.

All birds occupy a non-mammalian ‘otherness’ that, except for two scrawny legs, makes them seem alien and, at times, as Alfred Hitchcock knew and exploited, even threatening. They can’t entirely repel our powerful urge toward anthropomorphism, but they resist many of the other hallmarks of rewarding pet ownership. They don’t curl up on your lap or spring in the air for your ball, or sleep contently at your feet, or catch mice. How we choose to keep them, moreover, is curiouser still. Perched in tiny cages, often with their wings clipped, they are denied their very bird-ness: that is, the awesome power of soaring flight that is their most salient characteristic.

And yet many people forge a profound bond with birds, and love their winged animals with a fiercely felt reciprocity. This is especially true of parrots.

Read this very evocative article on the complicated bonds between parrots and their humans.

you learn something new every day

Two brave animals which both served in wars – a horse and a dog!

five ways to kill a man

Five Ways to Kill a Man
Edwin Brock

There are many cumbersome ways to kill a man.
You can make him carry a plank of wood
to the top of a hill and nail him to it.
To do this properly you require a crowd of people
wearing sandals, a cock that crows, a cloak
to dissect, a sponge, some vinegar and one
man to hammer the nails home.

Continue reading ‘five ways to kill a man’

your name may be a sign of the times

An article on Singaporean Chinese names. Incidentally, l did notice the ‘Korean Connection’ naming phenomenon mentioned, by reading advertisements (containing names of students), placed by local Chinese tuition schools!

Your name may be a sign of the times
By Larry Teo

PEOPLE’S names are markers of time, according to Chinese onomastician Ji Changhong, as certain names are peculiar to or popular in certain periods.

Therefore, if you were a writer spinning a tale about Singapore in the 1960s, you should know that Chinese names such as Han (meaning refined) or Yu (universe) were rare, if not non-existent, at that time.

To capture the atmosphere of the era, go for names such as Ah Fu (blessing) or Ah Fa (prosper) for males, and Ah Lian (lotus) or Ah Hua (flower) for females.

I know these are now names associated chiefly with Chinatown or Geylang, but they were everywhere in the past.

Continue reading ‘your name may be a sign of the times’

you learn something new every day

Several days ago I went on one of my usual Wikipedia jaunts, clicking from link to link, going through members of mediaeval European royalty, when I came across this interesting person – John Blanke!

the more things change

The more things change, the more they stay the same…… this Brewster Rockit: Space Guy! (14 December 2014) comic strip says it all……

br 141214

from here

rhetorical reasons that slogans stick

Slogan is an ancient Gaelic word. It means, or at least it meant, battle cry.

When medieval Scotsmen were charging their enemies in remote and warlike glens, they would shout the name of their clan or their chieftain again and again and again. “Campbell! Campbell! Campbell!” or “McDonald! McDonald! McDonald!”

These days, in the battles of global corporations, there’s slightly less killing, and certainly fewer kilts. But otherwise it’s pretty much the same clamoring to be heard above the competitive fray.

Imagine an army of Apple employees, brandishing iPhone 6s and bellowing “Bigger than bigger!” as they storm a counterattacking legion of Samsung smartphone reps wielding Galaxy S5s and urging one another onward with “The next big thing is here!”

A slogan, a good one at least, is at the heart of a company. It doesn’t just face outward to the consumer, but inward to the employees. One sentence becomes the company identity, the corporate motto and the battle cry. So it had better be a cracking good sentence.

Click here for ‘Rhetorical Reasons That Slogans Stick’ by Mark Forsyth, which I found a very entertaining read!

i’m an entj, destroyer of worlds

I know this is supposed to be a satire (it’s The Onion after all!), but at the heart of every satire is a grain of truth……

Of course, no ENTJs are exactly alike. Sure, we all like to talk. We like to be the boss. We can all move through the universe unrestrained by any law of physics and treat every so-called heavenly body as a mere plaything worth but moments of our attention. But just because I plunge my fist through a planet doesn’t mean that every single ENTJ is going to follow suit. We’re extraverted, intuitive, and nearly omnipotent, not clones.

If you’ve never taken the Myers-Briggs test, you should definitely do it. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and the people around you. And if you end up an ENTJ, welcome to the club!

If not, you will kneel.

Read Sara Alford’s humorous article, ‘I’m An ENTJ, Destroyer Of Worlds’, here!

none of them can be proven scientifically

Way back in 2006 (almost a lifetime ago!), local blogger Mr Wang wrote about delivering a speech on youth empowerment. In his blog post, he reflected on his speech, and ‘realised that if it had failed in some way, then a good explanation for its failure lies, once again, in Myers-Briggs (it’s uncanny the number of things Myers-Briggs can explain things)’.

He felt that it was because his MBTI personality type was INTJ, so his speech ‘turned out to be a classic reflection of the INTJ’s thinking patterns’. As an INTJ, he believed that it is possible to achieve great things, and constantly expect great things to be achieved. But few people are INTJs, and thus ‘there seemed to be students who seemed sceptical when (he) told them that they could achieve great things’.

That blog entry generated quite a number of comments, many about the MBTI. And I like this comment, by an unknown Anonymous, best of all:

Indeed there are some who regard Carl Jung as an idiot. Others regard him as the father of modern psychology.

I guess God, MBTI and the everyday phenomenon of falling in love have one thing in common. None of them can be proven scientifically.

(In another comment, freud’s friend writes: ‘Whenever you see big changes happening, there’s a good chance that an INTJ is there somewhere. Or an ENTJ. These two types are the Gods of Change in the MBTI system.’ Yes, dear reader…… I am an ENTJ! :D)

And personality tests continue to fascinate me.

divine mischief

A particularly funny bit from Last Chance to See……

For all my rational Western intellect and education, I was for the moment overwhelmed by a primitive sense of living in a world ordered by a malign and perverted god, and it coloured my view of everything that afternoon – even the coconuts. The villagers sold us some and split them open for us. They are almost perfectly designed. You first make a hole and drink the milk, then you split open the nut with a machete and slice off a segment of the shell, which forms a perfect implement for scooping out the coconut flesh inside. What makes you wonder about the nature of this god character is that he creates something that is so perfectly designed to be of benefit to human beings and then hangs it twenty feet above their heads on a tree with no branches.

Here’s a good trick, let’s see how they cope with this. Oh, look! They’ve managed to find a way of climbing the tree. I didn’t think they’d be able to do that. All right, let’s see them get the thing open. Hmm, so they’ve found out how to temper steel now, have they? OK, no more Mr Nice Guy. Next time they go up that tree I’ll have a [Komodo] dragon waiting for them at the bottom.

I can only think that the business with the apple must have upset him more than I realised.

Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine, Last Chance to See

you learn something new every day

Read about the Sentinelese people of North Sentinel Island recently:

The Sentinelese (also Sentineli, Senteneli, Sentenelese, North Sentinel Islanders) are one of the Andamanese indigenous peoples and one of the most uncontacted peoples of the Andaman Islands, located in India in the Bay of Bengal. They inhabit North Sentinel Island which lies westward off the southern tip of the Great Andaman archipelago. They are noted for vigorously resisting attempts at contact by outsiders. The Sentinelese maintain an essentially hunter-gatherer society subsisting through hunting, fishing, and collecting wild plants; there is no evidence of either agricultural practices or methods of producing fire.

from here

Little is known about the Sentinelese despite outsiders carrying out expeditions to their island throughout history. (You can read a very absorbing article on these expeditions here.) The rest of the world calls them the ‘Sentinelese’, but nobody knows what they call themselves. Presumably this situation suits them perfectly fine as they are often hostile to outsiders, greeting them with hails of arrows!

Continue reading ‘you learn something new every day’


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